Skip to content

Estevan teen's 4-H steer raises more than $53,000 for MRI campaign

Jaycee Ross wanted to have his steer sold to raise money for the campaign to bring an MRI scanner to St. Joseph's Hospital in Estevan.

ESTEVAN - Jaycee Ross' determination to raise money for the new MRI scanner at St. Joseph's Hospital proved to be a major success.

Ross' 4-H steer was auctioned off five times during the intermission of Friday night's KCRA Rodeo performance at the Energy City Ex., bringing in $53,500 for the hospital foundation's MRI campaign.

It was part of a memorable weekend for Jaycee, a graduating Grade 12 student at the Estevan Comprehensive School who received a resounding applause from more than 2,000 people who attended Saturday's graduation ceremony at Affinity Place.

Jaycee wanted to support the MRI campaign as a way to give back. He was born with Angelman syndrome and has needed a lot of medical attention over the years. Jaycee has never had a 4-H steer before, but had one this year.

During Friday's auction, the animal was initially sold for $30,000 to a consortium of 12 families from the southeast who each pledged $2,500. Jaycee's grandfather Brian Ross said they came up with $2,500 each because Brian, who owns the Ross L-7 Ranch with his wife Rosalie, valued the steer at $2,500. Chad and Crystal Ross from 4-C Ranch donated the steer to Jaycee, and Jaycee's mother Carol fed the animal all winter.

The donors, in addition to Brian and Rosalie, were Jason and Tasha King of JK Junior Containments; Eggum Seed Sales; Clayton and Lorna Story of Storyland Farms; Tim and Mona Schiestel; Kelly and Arlene Lafrentz; Ken Mehler; Ryan and Abbey Hogg with Core Integrity; Jeremy Ross with the Prairie Animal Health Centre; Wilgenbusch Charolais; Bandits Distilling; and an anonymous donor. They wanted the steer to be sold again so it could raise more funds for the MRI.

"This is the kind of thing that shows how much a lot of our local people want this MRI in Estevan. People are just really getting sick of the waiting times, and we need to get this thing in Estevan," said Brian.

He described the sale as a great day for Jaycee and for the Estevan MRI.

When the auctioning resumed, the steer was sold for $9,500 to Smart Power, who donated the steer back again. Then it was sold for $5,500 to the Chamney Family, who decided the animal should be sold again. DK Land & Cattle and Dun Rite Glass purchased the steer for $4,000 and put it back up for auction. Finally, Luke Ellingson and Buck Christman purchased the animal for $3,500 and decided to keep it.

Brian noted Mike Guest from Bandits Distilling was not only part of the $30,000 bid, but offered to process the steer for free through his company Western Prime Meat Processors in Weyburn.

Carol Ross said she was "humbled", "grateful" and overwhelmed with the support. When the auction was first announced, she hoped they would get market value for the steer.

Jaycee was also glad with how much money was raised. She noted he loves a crowd and the energy, and she said people could see it in his face each time auctioneer Norm Mack with the Mack Auction Company started the bidding again.

"Jaycee would get all exited and just feed off the energy, so Jaycee was pretty excited to be part of it all," said Carol.

She knew Brian had been piecing together a group to purchase the steer, but she didn't know how many people were involved or how high they would bid.

"It was pretty exciting to get the final tally there, and the re-donation and other buyers stepping up, that was pretty awesome, too," said Carol.

The people who purchased the steer with Brian are people that she knows through her family's connections. They're farming friends, small business owners and associates of the Ross family. As for the other bidders, Smart Power is operated by Tami and Trevor Goetz, who are good friends and leaders of the Outram-Madigan 4-H Club; Carol described them as "all-around fantastic people". Chamney Crushing is a friend of the family through Sydney Ross, and Dun-Rite Glass is another 4-H family.

Carol noted she received a lot of inspiration for the steer fundraiser after Gage Goetz raised $30,000 in 2019 to support the Jim Pattison Children's Hospital Foundation by selling his 4-H steer for $12,000, and his show stick and halter for another $12,000, and other fundraising efforts.

"That was such an inspiring moment for me," said Carol. "That was his 4-H project, and that's what the kids look to all year. They do a lot of work. They feed the steer. There's a lot of input costs. Kids buy the steer or it's a steer they get out of their parents' herd. And then ideally you make back some of that money by selling a steer, and Gage just gave his entire steer to the children's hospital."

Carol believes there is an appetite for more fundraising like this, and she knows of clubs that have been holding charity 4-H steer sales for more than 20 years..

The MRI project is very worthwhile, she said, and the exhibition association and others were great to work with.

The St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation has committed to raise $6.5 million for an MRI in Estevan, and has collected more than $3 million to date, including a $2 million pledge from Elaine Walkom. To support the campaign, visit the foundation's website